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Masters of Rome (Vespasian) Hardcover – 7 Aug 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 174 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (7 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857899627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857899620
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A stonking read Classic FM

About the Author

Robert Fabbri read Drama and Theatre at London University and has worked in film and TV for 25 years. He is an assistant director and has worked on productions such as Hornblower, Hellraiser, Patriot Games and Billy Elliot. His life-long passion for ancient history inspired him to write the Vespasian series. He lives in London and Berlin.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another cracking read in this excellent and exciting series - a real page-turner. The first half is bloody battles in Britain, with some really scary Druids (probably accurate), the second almost equally bloody politics in the Rome of Claudius, as Vespasian moves from the simple certainties of army life to the murky and disturbing role of climbing the greasy pole for position and influence. Each was fascinating and detailed, and largely factual. I greatly look forward to future volumes.
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Format: Hardcover
Britannia, AD 45. Sabinus, elder brother of Vespasian, has been snatched by the druids, betrayed by spy Alienus, suspended naked and filthy in a cage until his brother should come to his rescue at which time both men will be sacrificed to the goddess Sullis. Such is the plan but Vespasian is a soldier and officer who has learned his craft, forming meaningful alliances with local chieftains, able to take those harsh decisions which can save an army at the cost of the valued few. But in the druids, Vespasian's might and determination, a mirror of Rome, comes against an enemy of a type he's not encountered before. The battle will take all of his cunning and take Vespasian to the very edge of what he can endure.

Rome, though, is no safer a place. These are the days of Claudius, an emperor only slightly less mad than the man who preceded him and the one who is to follow. The dribbling fool is in the thrall of his captivating wife, Messalina, a woman notorious to all (but her husband) for her voracious sexual appetites. Rome is ruled in all but name by Claudius's three freedmen but even they cannot compete with the reach of the empress. A plan is hatched, Vespasian is caught in the middle. Having proven himself in the field, Vespasian must now use every political skill he can muster to bring down Messalina while all the time securing his family - and his wealth - for the future that has been prophesied.

Masters of Rome is the fifth novel in Robert Fabbri's superb series chronicling the life and career of Vespasian, a man who against all odds survived Rome's most infamous emperors only to ascend - somehow, miraculously - to the purple himself.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is volume five in the « Vespasian series ». I thoroughly enjoyed the four previous volumes and could not let go of any of them before finishing them. However, I had a few problems with this one, which I did not enjoy quite as much as the previous episodes.
One reason for being slightly disappointed is a certain lack of originality for which the author cannot really be blamed, given his choice of topics. Essentially this episode and its author come after similar books from Manda Scott and Simon Scarrow so there is a sense of “dejà vu” that creeps up, with similar stories about the Romans fighting in Britain, and having a rather hard time of it, and the intrigues and plots in Rome.

I was interested by the mystique pieces about the druids although I could not help feeling that the author had somewhat caricatured them into murderous “arch-villains”. I also felt that the ways in which some of their gods were depicted as lesser demons that were servants of the Son of the Morning (I will not give his other name to avoid spoilers) was not quite convincing. The author does make an interesting use of the legend of Joseph of Arithmatea, which in fact goes back to the 12th century, is not part of the Scriptures and according to which he took refuge in Britain, together with the Grail, and with some other very “special” refugees, which I will also not name to avoid spoilers.

To be fair, however, the rather ghastly picture of the Druids could be explained not only by the author’s creative license but also because of his Roman viewpoint, since his hero is Vespasian. Precious little is really known about the druids, and most of it is either through unflattering and presumably biased Roman written sources or through archaeology.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Robert Fabbri's fictional account of the life of Vespasion continues with episode five. Vespasion is in Britannia, gradually extending Roman control, either by negotiation or force. His brother is captured, and used as bait to draw Vespasian into a trap. The first half of the book deals with this storyline, and follows the adventures of the brothers; there is a fair amount of the supernatural here, with Druids, spirits and even early Christianity. I see from other reviews that some readers have found this a problem, but in a world where the natural and the supernatural were accepted parts of everyday life, i don't really see the issue. This is, after all, fiction.
The second part of the book sees Vespasian back in Rome, and heavily involved in the machinations of the Emperor's three powerful freedmen, and their battle to remove Messalina, the Empress. I still baulk at the depiction of Claudius in all current novels as a bumbling idiot, but it seems I am alone in this, so I will complain no more!
Overall, this is a worthy addition to the series. Although you know the outcome of the major historical events, the author does a good job of weaving them around Vespasian's story, and it is interesting to work out which of his actions are 'real' and which are part of the fiction. I think the author does well to make the two seamless. I shall be looking forward to the next episode.
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